Sunday, March 23, 2014

"For the people that put the passion before them being comfortable" -Macklemore

Being a second year teacher is like being a first year teacher except you can actually see the train in the distance accelerating to you, but you still aren't quite good enough to make the train stop or know exactly how to dodge it. But you see it coming - which in a way almost makes your second year harder than the first.
Let me explain, by the time you are a second year teacher you have a basic understanding of the very basics of basics of what it means to be a teacher. You can plan lessons moderately well, you can see the holes and limitations in your plans, and can expect and anticipate where certain undesirable behaviors will show up in your lessons (usually in the transitions), but you still lack the swiftness to make everything completely fluid - partly because you still don't really know how. You become much more reflective and critical on your teaching and realize nearly everything you did your first year teaching was horrible as you now have more tools to create better lessons.

So everyday becomes an experiment. You learn how to make your language direct and specific, you learn how to motivate students with your words, a timer in the classroom becomes your best friend, everything becomes about limiting distractions - or letting them perceive something like a personal story is a distraction so that it feels like a special occasion when really that too is thought out.

What I've come to realize this year is a large part of a teacher's job is to make routines and organizational systems so mindfully thought out so students never have to think about it. In this way the routines and systems don't become a distraction to students either. 

Some of my readers have asked why I have not been blogging lately. The answer is complex. Part of it is I feel that if someone doesn't have anything positive to say they shouldn't say anything at all - at least publicly. I've been writing a lot privately about my frustrations with education that I'm not going to share publicly at this time. There's a lot to be angry about with education from impossible NY teacher evaluation systems to standardized exams to state examinations. The worst part is I can't believe HOW many people drink this kool-aid. I don't. 

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